Implants and Bone Loss

One of the keys to the success of your implant is healthy jawbone. When bone in the jaw has been lost, it may not have enough height and width to securely hold an implant. Diagnosing the health of your jawbone is an important step in planning for stable, secure implants and maintaining a beautiful smile.

Causes of bone loss Bone in the jaw can be lost for a number of reasons. These can include:

  • Periodontal disease destroys the jawbone around the affected teeth.
  • Development of a cyst or abscess creates a hole in the jawbone.
  • Removal or accidental loss of teeth sometimes can injure jawbone.

Missing teeth do not stimulate the jawbone through chewing, causing the jawbone to shrink.

Diagnosis and treatment To determine whether your jaw has enough healthy bone to secure an implant, we do a thorough examination. First, we typically take x-rays, which can show us the height of the bone. In some cases, we may need additional, specialized x-rays, such as a CT (computerized tomography) scan, to provide more detail about your jawbone and the location of nerves and blood vessels in the jaw.

Then we perform a visual exam to look at the shape of the jawbone, and we may use a periodontal probe to check the height of bone around any neighboring teeth. Sometimes, we may also find defects in the jawbone while we are performing implant surgery.

If we discover that you have lost bone in your jaw, we will discuss the variety of techniques we can use to replace it.